Pakistan news January 12, 2012

Security situation in Pakistan has improved - Majid Khan


The international community should take decisive steps to ensure cricket returns to Pakistan as soon as the safety of visiting teams can be guaranteed, former PCB chairman Majid Khan has said. Majid, who is on the executive committee of the MCC, presented a security update on the situation in Pakistan at the body's latest meeting in Cape Town over the weekend.

Majid reported on an improved Pakistan situation, where security threats are minimal, and the MCC received his review with "optimism." They are considering sending a delegation to Pakistan to conduct further assessment and Majid is hopeful that this will be the start of Pakistan hosting cricket again.

"Whether the observers will come before [the next MCC meeting in] August I am not sure. The committee will also decide what sort of players they will send, whether it is a University team or just volunteers who are willing to go as an MCC team," Majid told ESPNcricinfo at Newlands. "Regardless of what standard it is, they will still go to play and it will break the ice."

No Test team has toured Pakistan since the ghastly terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009. Afghanistan are the only national team to have played there in the interim. The Pakistan team now plays its 'home' matches in the United Arab Emirates, where they have hosted series against South Africa and Sri Lanka, and are currently preparing to play England.

Bangladesh are the only team to have responded to a request to tour Pakistan. The PCB have invited them to visit in April, subject to a security check and various security guarantees which included bullet- and bomb-proof buses. Actions such as these are what Majid wants other countries and the ICC to engage in to take cricket back to Pakistan.

"It's up to the international community to make up their minds and assess the situation themselves, which they haven't done," he said. "They have to decide when they want to play in Pakistan. The ICC task force hasn't visited Pakistan personally. I think it is time for the world community to physically come and start the process. If Bangladesh comes it will ease the fears of the international community but it all depends on the ICC and how quickly they would like to see Pakistan hosting home series."

Majid's report may tempt the ICC, to whom the MCC presents recommendations, to evaluate the situation themselves. "Terrorist activity has abated a lot," he said. His foremost example is of the British Army team who travelled to Pakistan army in December.

"Just before their arrival, the NATO strike occurred," Majid said, making a reference to the November 26 strike along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. "In deference to the soldiers, they postponed the games but the British Army team arrived in Pakistan. They practiced in the capital, Islamabad, without any security. They went up to a hill resort called Murree, spent a day there and they are thinking of returning in February to play the games. That's a positive sign."

While the average Pakistan cricket supporter is keen to see cricketing action resuming in the country, Majid thinks there may be some sceptics. The spot-fixing trial and convictions have cast a long shadow over cricket in Pakistan and Majid says many fans have begun to doubt the honesty of the game.

"There is a lot of cynicism among the public. If any match or series, Pakistan do badly, people start questioning. I'm sure if Pakistan had been bowled out for 47 against South Africa here [at Newlands], there would have been lots of questions.

"That cynicism has to be done away with. We have to tackle the corruption problem and bring back the confidence of the public." Majid believes the only way to do that will be to ensure that harsh punishments are meted out to those who are found guilty of cheating.

He said stronger sentences, such as the jail terms that Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammed Amir are currently serving, play a dual role of acting as a deterrent to would-be offenders, and as a reassurance to the public that the problem is being taken seriously. "Overall, it has sent the message, 'watch out,' which is good," Majid said.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on January 15, 2012, 2:02 GMT

    @piyo_thanda_jiyo_thanda its nt that ur security situation is better than Pak, remember Mumbai attack??? Eng team went back bt came back aftr 3-7 days ( i dn't knw exact days). wht do u think the security situation had chnged suudenly at tht time...Big NO...its all abt Money involvd. Englnad came to India aft thy were tempted by BCCI... Pak failed to provide security to it is the administration fault not to bring back cricket in country. if u put money in, everyone will come to u. its as simple as tht

  • gallant_cricketer on January 14, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    Great spokesman, Majid is. Well said. Majid has done a nice job while giving a realistic perspective.

  • sabee66 on January 13, 2012, 22:53 GMT

    SA didn't play cricket alogn time but when they returned back to the game we all saw, pakistan is Allhamdullilah playing good cricket at the mometn, Series in England and UAE is not a bad option, I wouldn't send any Aussie there to take that much risk to be honest India can't play overseas so better for India is to invite or play in Playing outside India agains Pakistan will no different to UK and I am hoping Imran khan will make the country situation better and every nation will come and enjoy cricket here

  • piyo_thanda_jiyo_thanda on January 13, 2012, 22:10 GMT

    I think Pakistan does not deserve to have any international cricket after their failure to protect sri lankans. The world does not trust Pakistan any more.

  • cricfan01159554 on January 13, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    I am from Pakistan. Pakistan has not used this hibernation period as an opportunity for themselves. Thas is to develop demestic professional leagues even at a modest level compared to others in the neighbourhood. This would have allowed them to overall bring more people through the turnstiles compared to international test/OD series, and also slowly attract some foreign players who are not getting drafts at IPL. Pakistan Cricket is an attractive product with decent demand in the surrounding region for TV viewership. If I was running it I would have started it and time it with every IPL series. Even if they chip away at 10% of viewer ship it would be a success and will ultimately bring IPL to the table. Self sufficiency is what we should aim for only then the rest of the world will want to come.

  • dummy4fb on January 13, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    wud like to see, india back on track playing pakistan in pakistan ... sports not to be mixed with attacks and politics... india-pak, at lahore... wow.... isnt amazing .. ?

  • IMRANRP on January 13, 2012, 8:08 GMT

    Good to see indian posting here and barking, they forget there team having beatings all over the world, one team cant play at home and win and one team can only play at home and win, who is winner, your choice.

  • dummy4fb on January 13, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    I strongly believe that the condemnable incident with SirLankan team was a one-off event. Here in Pakistan conditions have vastly improved; and we are no more facing any terrorism incidents.

  • dummy4fb on January 13, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    Never Trust the advice of a man in difficulties! THINK TWICE OR THRICE! "Seenig is not always believing" RECHECK BEFORE DOING OR CONFIRMING!

  • vallavarayar on January 13, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    It is better, but it's all relative. It's better compared to earlier but far dangerous still compared to other countries. You can't ask players to risk life and limb just to play cricket in Pakistan.

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